Discover 007 Elements with Victor
High up in the Austrian Tyrol, above the sleepy town of Sölden, sits a building that wouldn’t look out of place in a Bond film. And that’s because it was in a Bond film – starring as the Hoffler Klinik in Spectre, Daniel Craig’s most recent outing, where 007 enjoys one of the more innuendo-laden psychological interrogations in recent cinema history.
The Ice Q, as the building is usually known, is more commonly associated with chefs but still offers the sort of fine dining that film’s favourite spy is used to. It’s the perfect introduction to what lies next door: 007 Elements, an entirely new structure carved into the cliff like a concrete thunderbolt.
The brainchild of Neil Callow, who art-directed the last four movies, and Tino Schaedler from LA-based staging company Optimist, Elements spearheads the trend for immersive experiences. As you progress through the space, each room builds on what you’ve just seen so that what you end up with is a multidisciplinary lesson in the making of the sequence that was filmed here. Along the way, clips, interactive features and memorabilia from Bonds past remind you what makes this film’s most enduring franchise. “We want to use this incredible location to place our guests into Bond’s environment, and bring the stories to life in a unique and unforgettable way,” Callow says. In one room, intricately plotted storyboards detail a chase scene involving a convoy of off-road vehicles, a fair few explosions, and the crash-landing of a plane into a village; the plane that was used for the crash is suspended in mid-air in front of a wall of windows with a postcard-picture view of the mountains behind. “You’ve got to trust your stunt driver,” Callow adds with a grin.
Constructed to look like a villain’s lair – albeit one that wouldn’t look out of place in the pages of Architectural Digest – Elements is both an homage to the vision of Bond’s legendary set designer Ken Adam, and a modern marvel of engineering. It eschews climate-control so as not to disturb the permafrost on its roof; interlocking sections are linked together with rubber seals that move in tandem with the mountainside as the ice melts and refreezes according to the time of year. Guests are advised to wear something warm even in summer, but there’s no denying a slight chill in the air adds to the frosty atmosphere befitting of an international super-baddie.
Towards the end of the Elements experience, you’re shown the finished sequence included in Spectre. After more than six months of work, the piece clocks in at just over five minutes long. It’s a hugely impressive piece of work, especially when you realise it’s all been done from scratch. According to Callow, audiences have become too sophisticated to tolerate CGI in films of this calibre anymore. As a testament to the power of the moving image, you get the feeling Bond still has a long way to go yet.
007 Elements opens on July 12th. Fly to Innsbruck with Victor, with helicopter transfers direct to the mountain available on request.
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Pictures courtesy of Kristopher Grunert and 007 ELEMENTS
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